Former Arsenal star says Gunners have left it too late to catch Leicester

Brian Talbot, Arsenal

Brian Talbot, Arsenal - Credit: Archant

Brian Talbot says winning the Premier League this season will be “very difficult” for Arsenal as they resume their campaign with the visit of Watford.

The former Gunners midfielder – who also turned out for the Hornets – feels a lack of consistency has almost certainly cost Arsenal the title as Leicester and Tottenham battle it out in the most unlikely title race in living history.

But he has warned Arsene Wenger’s side they need full concentration over the last few games to secure their expected top-four place – again.

“Leicester City have led the way, quite literally, when it comes to consistency,” said Talbot ahead of Saturday’s Emirates Stadium clash.

“The best Arsenal can really hope for, in my view, is another Champions League place. But it could have been so much better.

“The games are simply running out. If there were an extra five games to go then it would still be on – especially as we know this side is more than capable of going on a winning run – but there are not enough games to make up that 11-point gap.

“The nightmare scenario on the red side of north London is for Spurs to pip Leicester, but I still see Leicester very much in the driving seat. Having said that, despite some tough games ahead, Spurs have momentum – it will be interesting.”

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Talbot, who joined the Gunners from hometown club Ipswich Town in 1979 and went on to make 327 appearances, scoring 49 times, says Arsenal must rue dropping points in games they were expected to win.

“At times they have been excellent. But consistency wins titles – nicking games when you maybe don’t deserve all three points,” he said. “They haven’t done that because they have been too inconsistent.”

Watford, he stresses, will be no pushovers this weekend. Talbot spent a largely unhappy year at Vicarage Road after leaving Arsenal in June 1985, but he has been impressed with Quique Sanchez Flores’ side this season.

Arsenal fans also don’t need reminding that the Hornets ended their lengthy unbeaten run in the FA Cup at the Emirates earlier this month.

“They (Watford) have come up from the Championship and adapted very well to the Premier League,” added Talbot, now 63 and working as a scout at Fulham.

“The players have adapted well – much like Bournemouth’s – and they have players that can really hurt teams, as they have shown.

“I was at the FA Cup game and they did well, although it has to be said they scored both goals on the break. In short, they were clinical and took their chances.

“One goal was from a long ball and the second was just pure class. That result showed they can beat the big teams.”

That said, Talbot also believes Arsenal may have turned a corner following their 2-0 win at Everton prior to the international break.

“That was an impressive performance – but also a much-needed one. Arsenal went to Goodison and dominated for long periods,” said Talbot.

“I hope they go on a run until the end of the season but, as I have said, their lack of consistency has worked against them. Leicester have a sound defence and are full of energy – Spurs too.

“The most consistent teams win titles – you can’t just wing it, you have to perform over a whole season. And as things stand, Arsenal haven’t done that.”

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